Concerning work and residence permits, Liechtenstein has a very strict policy regarding foreigners who wish to enter the country, and residence permits are very difficult to obtain.
How to obtain a work permit in Liechtenstein
EU and EEA citizens who want to work in Liechtenstein or who are employed by a Liechtenstein company must live in a neighboring country and commute across the boarder each day. However, if a person wants to commute for work purpose, they will still need a cross – boarder commuter permit. Swiss citizens are allowed to work in Liechtenstein without having to register for any type of permit, but they must remain resident in Switzerland.
Non – EU citizens can obtain work or residence permits in Liechtenstein only if they are hired as managers, specialists or qualified workers.
Cross – boarder commuter permits
Workers that are EU or EEA citizens have the possibility to work in Liechtenstein only if they live in one of the neighboring countries, mainly Austria or Germany, as Switzerland requires residence permits for EU nationals. Around 52% of the total workforce in Liechtenstein is employed as cross – boarder commuters.
Each year, 56 cross – boarder commuters are granted residence permits in Liechtenstein. Half of these permits are awarded by a lottery, while the other half is awarded directly by the government. An additional 12 residence permits are reserved for Swiss citizens who work as cross – boarder commuters in Liechtenstein each year.
Persons who work in bars and restaurants or as carers and are provided with a room as part of their employment contract don’t have to return to their place of residence each day. However, these persons must return to their place of residence at least once a week.
EEA citizens that work in Liechtenstein must register with the authorities, respectively with the Migration and Passport Office, within 10 days from starting work.
Non – EU and non – EEA citizens must also apply for a cross- boarder commuter permit before starting to work in Liechtenstein. This permit is valid for one year, if certain conditions are met. One of the conditions stipulates that a non – EEA citizen is allowed to work in Liechtenstein if the employer was not able to find a person suitable for the job that doesn’t require a cross – boarder work permit. The application for the permit is submitted to the Migration and Passport Office at least 14 days before the first day of work. Applicants can only start work in Liechtenstein once they have been granted a cross – boarder commuter permit.
Residence permits in Liechtenstein
Non – EU and non – EEA citizens are not allowed to live in Liechtenstein, but they cannot live in neighboring countries without holding a job in the respective countries. In situations like these, Liechtenstein does offer residence permits for some categories of foreign workers.
In order to qualify for a Liechtenstein residence permit, the foreign worker must be a manager, a specialist or a qualified worker with sufficient experience.
The Liechtenstein Migration and Passport Office grants residence permits. It is important to note that Liechtenstein does not issue its own visas, therefore it’s recommended for non – EU citizens to obtain a Schengen visa from another European country before traveling to Liechtenstein. This visa enables non – EU citizens to stay in Liechtenstein for up to 90 days in a 180 days period. The entire process usually takes between 6 and 8 weeks.